Golf courses are notorious for their obnoxious water consumption and fuel use to keep the grounds looking artificial. A new golf course where the US Open will be played in 2015 is the environmental gem for the U.S. Golf Association (USGA).
It’s really good to see that golf courses are understanding the importance of sustainable design.
Thompson, like many other visitors, eventually discovered that the municipally owned course is a leader in the golf sustainability movement. Its 85 acres (34 hectares) of turf are covered with fescue grass, which requires less watering–half that of nonfescue courses–less mowing and smaller amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. While the grass is not a good fit for every climate, it works well in northern Europe and the Pacific Northwest–although Chambers Bay decided it was too delicate to handle being trampled by golf carts. (Cue the caddy-job-creation program.)
The course also has 74 acres (30 hectares) of dunes and 91 acres (37 hectares) of bunkers, features that need almost no maintenance. “There is no irrigation, no fertilizer, no chemicals, nothing,” Larry Gilhuly, a USGA sustainability expert, says of the dunes. Plus, the sandy soil, which drains freely, allows the course to retain all storm water on-site.